Occupational Therapy Week: Helen Whitfield

3rd November 2020

Occupational Therapy Week falls from Monday 2nd to Sunday 8th November this year, and throughout the week we are going to introduce you to some of the wonderful OTs at St Barnabas Hospice, and talk about the difference they make for our patients.

First up, it’s Helen Whitfield who has been an occupational therapist at St Barnabas Hospice since 2015.

Helen said, “I work in the south-west of Lincolnshire, both in the community visiting patients’ homes, as well as at the Day Therapy Centre in Grantham.

“I was inspired to become an OT by a family friend with the same role. After visiting several places where I saw occupational therapy being used to help people achieve their goals, I was sure that this was the profession for me.

“I absolutely love working for St Barnabas as I am able to use all of my skills and undertake interventions that would not be considered a priority in most settings. These include fatigue management, sleep assessment and management, anxiety management, complex moving and handling, cognitive based therapy techniques, memory assessment and mindfulness. In palliative care, you can make a difference to somebody’s life in a positive way every single day.

“One of my most memorable patient stories is about a gentleman who was sent home from hospital to be nursed in a bed. He was depressed as he lay there looking at his beautiful garden and immaculate fish pond 24 hours a day. I was asked to visit him to see if I could help with his mood.

“On talking to him, I realised that all he wanted was to get out in his garden to his fish pond, and he wanted to eat a meal with his daughter sat at the dining table.

“I ordered him a wheelchair, a transfer aid and a ramp, and was able to get him into a wheelchair and outside. It was amazing to see the pleasure on his face as he sat with a large packet of fish food on his lap feeding his prized Koi carp.

“The next time I visited him, he met me on his drive with a pressure washer in his hand, and he was pressure washing the front of his house! He said he had been able to eat at the table with his daughter and his appetite and mood were much improved.”

Our occupational therapists all do an amazing job and we couldn’t be prouder of them. Well done everyone, and please keep up the great work! #ChooseOT

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